Soft Reboot: A Warm Welcome (Back) to IU HCI/d

Well, folks, it’s official — we survived 2018 and 2019 is here, freshly minted. Classes are just starting back up here at Indiana University, and the MS program in Human-Computer Interaction/Design is no exception. This year, we’re going to try something a little different. The following introductory article aims to outline our goals for this Medium page — and to talk a little bit about what readers can expect in the weeks to come.

First, a word about design. Here’s a quote from one of my sketchbooks — Design is like alchemy: it’s a mix of science, storytelling, and a bit of magic. The only way to get better is to practice. The only way to practice is to try. Here, on the IU HCI/d Medium page, we’ll share with you as we practice, and try — and perhaps most importantly, as we mess up, fail, and learn. That’s our mission statement, if we have one — we want Cultura to be a place of learning.

Some of the Class of 2020, SICE Welcome Week, August 2018

What we’re proudest of here at IU is what we call our cohort culture. What cohort culture means - in a nutshell - is: we take care of each other. We are more a family than a collection of students. (This is the origin of the new HCI/d page name, Cultura.) At its best, we want this space to be a way for us to bring more people into our family — even from a distance.

Our hope is that by publishing more regular articles here, readers can keep abreast of what we think about design, who we are as designers and students, and share with us our tales of trial and triumph. To us, design is (almost) everything, and (almost) everything is design. We’re nerds here at IU — and on this newly rebooted Medium page, you can expect us to be the best nerds we can be.

Every month, there will be a design theme. There will be at least two articles about that theme for our readers to peruse, as well as an array of other articles covering a wide range of articles written by students and alumni of the HCI/d program. Our theme for January, for example, is Exemplars. Look for us to wax poetic about some of our favorite designs over the next couple of weeks.

IU HCI/d Cohortians in their natural habitat. (Design Studio, August 2018) Photo by Yi Wang

We also will be publishing insights and “takeaways” from our lessons in the program, including (but not limited to): interesting case studies, a Design Dictionary, Design Reflections, Design Journeys, and more. A quick description of each of these features is as follows:

  1. Design Dictionary: A living document where we gather as many design terms and ideas as we can find so that we can define them for the curious reader.
  2. Design Reflections: As a matter of course in the IU HCI/d program, we write medium length (informal) reflections on a variety of design texts (both academic and entrepreneurial) for class. Sometimes, we’ll share these here.
  3. Design Journeys: Arriving at the field of HCI (UX/IXD/etc.) is usually the byproduct of an eclectic journey. Design Journey articles will be where students can share their story of how they arrived at design — and where they hope to someday go.
Working. Photo by Naomi Lacy

We’ll add more features as we go. This is just a start. We hope it’s a good one.

We’re excited to do this. We’re excited to be here. We look forward to sharing our program and our ideas with you, and we’re hopeful that we can give a more consistent voice to the IU HCI/d program.

Check back every now and again to read about the zany things we’re cooking up — and if you have questions about the program or want to join the conversation, please feel free to comment or write.

Ries Murphy, January 2019